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Letter warns of sheriff candidate’s credibility issue

A candidate for Dougco sheriff, Holly Kluth, is the subject of a warning, saying her testimony may not be credible in a court case.

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — A Republican candidate running for sheriff in Douglas County is the subject of a warning letter to prosecutors, letting them know she may not be credible enough to take part in a trial.

A spokesperson for Holly Kluth, who is also Douglas County’s former undersheriff, said Kluth “unequivocally denies” the allegations in the letter from the sheriff's office to the 18th Judicial District and will remain in the sheriff's race.

This letter is one part in the process of sending a Brady letter. Named after the Brady v. Maryland case heard in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, a Brady letter is a warning from prosecutors to defense attorneys that explains a law enforcement officer’s credibility may endanger the successful prosecution of cases. Reasons for the letter might include an officer's untruthfulness or misconduct.

Such letters often end law enforcement careers.

This notification follows an internal affairs investigation into Kluth, launched in December, that related to allegations she ordered another employee to alter her personnel file years ago. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office conducted the investigation that began after Kluth’s attorney requested her personnel file from the sheriff’s department while preparing a federal lawsuit against Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock contesting Kluth’s firing. Her termination came after a separate internal affairs investigation.

According to the personnel file investigation, when sheriff’s office staff began to prepare the file, they found a discrepancy -- a file had been deleted from the department’s human relations computer system.

Kluth was found to have violated policy in ordering the deletion of personnel file information that "would be disparaging not only to her personal reputation but also to her campaign to become the next elected Sheriff of Douglas County." Investigators said Kluth violated four policies: Conformance to Law, Unlawful Orders, Commission of a Deceptive Act, and Removal of Records. 

This investigation ended with Jefferson County recommending official misconduct charges to the district attorney’s office. The district attorney in the 18th District, John Kellner, opted not to prosecute the case.

RELATED: DougCo sheriff candidate previously investigated for official misconduct

Kluth’s spokesman Nick Kliebenstein said the Brady letter is “just the latest in a political vendetta” by Spurlock.

Asked whether Kluth could function in the office of sheriff if elected while under a Brady letter, Kliebenstein said Kluth hadn’t had an opportunity to respond to the allegations in the letter.

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